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Thursday, February 7, 2013

First-Term Members of the House of Representatives and Senate, 64th – 113th Congresses

Jennifer E. Manning
Information Research Specialist

R. Eric Petersen
Specialist in American National Government

This report provides summary data on the number of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives who first entered Congress between the 64th Congress (1915-1917) and the 113th Congress (2013-2014). First-term membership is divided into two broad categories in each chamber: Members chosen prior to the convening of a Congress, and those chosen after a Congress convenes. The resulting data, combining pre-convening and post-convening first-term Members, provide a count of all Members who served a first term in the House or Senate.

Since the convening of the 64
th Congress, 4,126 individuals have entered the House of Representatives for their first, or “freshman,” terms as Representatives. An additional 26 have begun service as Delegates or Resident Commissioners. During the same period, 825 individuals began their first terms in the Senate.

Data on pre-convening first-term Members provide partial insight into the extent of membership turnover in the House and Senate since 1915. In both chambers, the data suggest that the overall number of first-term Members elected to Congress who take their seats at the convening of a new Congress has declined since the 64
th Congress. This appears to be consistent with findings that argue that the duration of Members’ careers has been increasing in the past century. Taken on their own, post-convening first-term Member data do not reveal clear patterns within individual Congresses, or over time. This is due in part to the wide range of reasons that a seat in the House and Senate may become vacant in the course of a Congress, and the circumstances under which it may be filled.

Date of Report: January 25, 2013
Number of Pages: 20
Order Number: R41283
Price: $29.95

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